The last 4 years at national level have been a success for St Peter’s High School team tennis, with the Montagu Academy coaches guiding at least one team to the Nationals in each of the last 4 years. This year was no different, and in fact there were two teams present, boys and girls. With a 6th place and 5th place for the boys in the past few years, it was the girls turn last year to go it alone and they managed a very respectable 12th place. These are all astronomical achievements for a comprehensive school whose players train on 2 playground courts and share and indoor hall and a barn with PE (when available!). The winners of this years boys tournament, Culford, have a coaching team boasting a former Davis Cup player and a Level 5 coach. Parents pay around £30,000 a year for their children to attend and they have 11 courts to practice on, including 4 indoor.
The Nationals draws are made up of 16 teams in each, boys and girls, and each team plays 4 matches.
This year, the Montagu Academy coaches and St Peters PE staff took a girls team featuring the same side but without last years’ number 1 singles player, Ella Mora. They went into it hoping to at least win one match out of the four and equal last years finish. And they did just that. Some inspiring performances from all involved, especially from the youngest of the bunch, Anna Barnes, 14, who grasped the chance to drag her team over the line on day two!
The boys team looked rather different to the one that accomplished the magnificent 5th place last time round. This one a younger, less experienced side, but on this competition’s evidence, with a lot of potential. They managed to win 2 out of their 4 matches and cemented 11th place on the last day, with a lot of experience gained from the tournament.
This was a very rewarding week for these players, with a lot of experienced gained. With the rain causing delays to matches, the teams had a lot of waiting around to do and learnt to stay patient and go through warm-up routines and stay rested and hydrated. They also witnessed and played against some of the best tennis players in the country for this age group. The girls team faced the number 1 ranked team in the first round. The boys draw had a number of players who had just returned from playing junior Wimbledon! So, it was very rewarding to not only watch but also to test themselves against that level.
The achievements of the last 4 years read as follows:
- 2014: Boys 6th place.
- 2015: Boys 5th place.
- 2016: Girls 12th place.
- 2017: Girls 12th place, Boys 11 place.
Not bad for a state school from Gloucester!
Congratulations to this years teams:
Girls: Georgina Barnes, Maya Chapman, Lydia Ray, Anna Barnes.
Boys: Rhodri Atkinson, James Holden, Liam White, Miles Ray, Luke Fullard.